So Much Has Changed but So Little Also for Tyler Reddick

The No. 8 is positioned to win championships before the driver's departure in 2024.


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How Tyler Reddick announced his eventual departure from Richard Childress Racing isn’t how the boss would have drawn it up, but it also doesn’t change the plan for the next season and a half.

Race wins and championships.

Richard Childress has made it clear that he wishes he and Reddick could have crafted a more aligned approach to the announcement he would join 23XI Racing in 2024 but he also doesn’t want to let it erode the best chance the organization has had to win a Cup Series championship in a decade.

"After they made their announcement, I thought about it a lot that night, gave it a lot of thought, and it's more than just about one person," Childress said. "It's about the team. Stayed up most of the night thinking about what I should do, how I wanted to handle it.

"I went in the next day and told the whole team it wasn't a perfect circumstance the way it went down, but we're going to give it everything we've got this year, and we'll see where we go next year."

In other words, no one is going to give anything less than 100 percent during this championship run and what they hope to be another next year before Reddick leaves for the organization owned by Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan.

When Reddick announced his impending departure, some wondered why Childress would continue to invest into what looks like a lame duck situation. But in actuality, why would they not invest in the No. 8 team and showcase to prospective partners and free agent drivers what they could be capable of together too?

Two weeks after making the announcement, and almost a month after his first win at Road America Reddick is back in Victory Lane at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course and could be poised for a run to Phoenix Raceway in November.

And why not, considering that they could have won races at Phoenix and the Bristol Dirt Track, too.

"That’s what we’re going to try and do," Reddick said. "It’s really nice we won two races this year. We got some good playoff points in our back pocket. We would like to win at other tracks other than road courses, but we’ll win where we can for now.

"We’ve certainly had potential to win at a number of places, at a number of different places. We’ll just keep working really hard, and hopefully in the coming weeks we can win some more races, get some more playoff points and put our team, points speaking and mentally, confidence-wise, in a really good place going into the playoffs."

Crew chief Randall Burnett said the decision by Reddick to leave after the 2023 season is a business decision and he reminded everyone on the No. 8 team that after Childress had their companywide meeting.

"We've still got a lot of racing left to do with Tyler, and that's what I told our guys," Burnett said. "We're all professionals. A lot of us, everybody in our team is veterans of the sport. We've all been around for a long time. We've seen drivers come and go and things move around, and that's just part of our sport.

"We've talked about it as a group, and Richard sat in on some of them and talked with all of us about it. The biggest thing we can do is go out and do what we did today and that's put fast cars underneath Tyler and try to win races and show everybody what this team is made of so we can try to figure out what we need to do to fill that void."

Reddick says it’s actually easier to focus on his No. 8 team and winning races and the championship than it was over a month ago. There is no longer any worrying about what the future holds. He has said on multiple occasions that he left the introductory press conference with Hamlin with the expectation that he would truly see him in that setting 17 months from then.

He has a job to do at RCR.

"I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily a matter of proving things, it’s a matter of this is the time we have left, " Reddick said. "Like I kind of said earlier, we’ve been working hard to build to being a race-winning team."

For whatever reason, the road courses have come along much quicker and now Reddick wants to develop their entire program before he leaves.

"For me, I just look at the time we have left, and I know I always give it my all, but certainly knowing that this is when — this is when the end of the road is going to be, I need to do everything I can to win as many races as possible for this group because I wouldn’t be the road course racer I am today if it wasn’t for RCR, if it wasn’t for the people on my team, if it wasn’t for Chevrolet.

"I owe it to them. I owe it to my team. I owe it to the people that really have helped me to get that done and go out there and deliver for them."

Remember, this is largely the same team that Reddick took to the Xfinity Series championship in 2020 with Burnett, their engineering team and many of the same over-the-wall crew members.

Reddick gets the spotlight because he’s the driver but the next four months is about this team delivering on the expectation that they would return Richard Childress Racing to the pinnacle. That Reddick is leaving in a year in a half doesn’t change that goal.

"It's not only Tyler, I think it's our whole group," Burnett said. "A lot of us have been together for a long time. We've got a veteran pit crew that's been through a lot together. Just this whole team, it's pretty impressive the talent we've got and the depth we've got on this team and how we pull together. It's pretty phenomenal and great to see that we're getting the fruits out of our labor and winning some races now, because like I said before, we've blown plenty of them and had plenty of them taken away, and just whatever happened and come up second however many times.

"It's nice to finally be finishing them off the way we should."

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Oct 3, 2022